Marijuana Addiction: Symptoms and Treatments

In recent years, more and more states and local governments have legalized the use of marijuana under a variety of circumstances, including recreational use. Many people believe that legalizing marijuana is timely because of its purported medicinal uses, and that it is a “harmless,” natural drug. However, in recent years, marijuana processing as undergone significant changes. These days, caustic chemicals, microbes, solvents and even fungi can be found in processed marijuana or even in the plant itself.
marijuana addicts

Additionally, concentration levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, have increased dramatically; by at least 20% in the last decade. As THC levels have climbed, incidents of excessive doses, toxic reactions, medical emergency events and cases of addiction have also increased. In fact, statistics indicate that 30% of people who use marijuana have a marijuana use disorder, and 17% of those who begin using before they are 18 years old will become marijuana addicts.

Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction

Signs and symptoms of addiction to marijuana are similar to those found with addiction to other substances, including:

  • Tolerance, which is generally demonstrated by needing more marijuana to get the same effects or needing to use it more often.
  • Significant impairment to interpersonal relationships, work and/or educational activities. In other words, marijuana use interferes with the ability to develop or maintain relationships, results in failure to fulfill responsibilities at home or work, or results in an overall lack of motivation and productivity in the user’s life. Marijuana addicts often continue to use marijuana even though they know it is causing problems in their life.
  • The inability to quit using marijuana despite negative consequences. Continued unsuccessful attempts by marijuana addicts to quit using is a significant sign that a marijuana use disorder has risen to the level of addiction.
  • Withdrawal and other physical symptoms that occur when marijuana use stops, such as insomnia, changes in appetite, depression, irritability and anxiety.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment

Currently, there are no medications available that can help with treatment for addiction to marijuana. But, some pharmaceuticals have been used to treat other medical issues that have arisen in relation to marijuana use. For instance, medical professionals may use sleep aids to treat insomnia that results from marijuana withdrawal. And, there are a variety of non-pharmaceutical approaches to treat marijuana addiction. Treatment methods include cognitive behavioral therapy, behavior modification, group and individual therapy, equine therapy, and yoga/meditation.

 

Sources

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive - Is marijuana addictive?

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana - What is marijuana?

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/available-treatments-marijuana-use-disorders - Available Treatments for Marijuana Use Disorders

Posted on March 16th, 2017
Posted in Addiction, Articles

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